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Louis Moreau Gottschalk

May 8, 1829 - December 18, 1869
born in New Orleans, LA, composed during the Romantic period
Gottschalk was the eldest son of a Jewish-English New Orleans real estate speculator and his French-descended bride. Gottschalk may have heard the drums at Place Congo in New Orleans, but his exposure to Creole melody likely came through his own household; his mother had grown up in Haiti and fled to Louisiana after that island's slave uprising. Piano study was undertaken with Narcisse Lettellier, and at age 11, Gottschalk was sent to Paris. Denied entrance to the Conservatoire, he continued with Charles Hallé and Camille Stamaty, adding composition with Pierre Maleden. His Paris debut at the Salle Pleyel in 1845 earned praise from Chopin. By the end of the 1840s, Gottschalk's first works, such as Bamboula, appeared. These syncopated pieces based on popular Creole melodies rapidly gained popularity worldwide. Gottschalk left Paris in 1852 to join his father in New York, only to encounter stiff competition from touring foreign artists. With his father's death in late 1853, Gottschalk inherited support of his mother and six siblings. In 1855, he signed a contract with publisher William Hall to issue several pieces, including The Banjo and The Last Hope. The Last Hope is a sad and sweetly melancholy piece, and it proved hugely popular. Gottschalk found himself obliged to repeat it at every concert, and wrote "even my paternal love for The Last Hope has succumbed under the terrible necessity of meeting it at every step." With an appearance at Dodsworth Hall in December 1855, Gottschalk finally found his audience. For the first time he was solvent, and at his mother's death in 1857 Gottschalk was released from his familial obligations. He embarked on a tour of the Caribbean and didn't return for five years. When this ended, America was in the midst of Civil War. Gottschalk supported the north, touring Union states until 1864. Gottschalk wearied of the horrors surrounding him, becoming an avid proponent of education, playing benefit concerts for public schools and libraries. During a tour to California in 1865, Gottschalk entered into an involvement with a young woman attending a seminary school in Oakland, and the press excoriated him. He escaped on a steamer bound for Panama City. Instead of returning to New York, he pressed on to Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina, staying one step ahead of revolutions, rioting, and cholera epidemics, but he began to break down under the strain. Gottschalk contracted malaria in Brazil in August 1869; still recovering, he was hit in the abdomen by a sandbag thrown by a student in São Paolo. In a concert at Rio de Janeiro on November 25, Gottschalk collapsed at the keyboard. He had appendicitis, which led to peritonitis. On December 18, 1869, Gottschalk died at the age of 40.

The impact of Gottschalk's music on the later development of ragtime might seem obvious, yet there is no proven link from him to the syncopated popular music he anticipated in works like Bamboula. The music of Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton show traces of Gottschalk's melodic shape and rhythmic pulse, and the New Orleans-born Morton likewise studied under Lettellier. Nickelodeon pianists disserviced Gottschalk by loving him too well; pieces like The Dying Poet and Morte!! turned many a dramatic corner in silent movie houses, and the public began to identify these themes as cliché. By the 1940s, Gottschalk was condemned as hopelessly old-fashioned, and it would take decades of work by scholars to improve his critical fortunes. In his best music, Gottschalk was an American original; masterpieces like Souvenir de Porto Rico, Union, and O ma charmant, épargnez-moi! transcend time through their emotional power, technical mastery, audacity, wit, and charm. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Gottschalk, Louis Moreau (1829-1869): American Piano Music

1. Le Banjo, Esquisse Américaine For Piano, Op. 15, D. 15 (Ro 22): The Banjo Op. 15 (Fantasie Grotesque)

2. L'Étincelle, Mazurka Sentimentale For Piano ("The Spark"), Op. 20, D. 49 (RO 80): L'etincelle, La Scintilla, Op. 20

3. Ojos Criollos - Danse Cubaine, Caprice Brillante For Piano, Op. 37, D. 105a (Ro 185): Ojos Criollos, Op. 37 (Les Yeux Creoles Or Danse Cubaine)

4. Marche Funèbre (I), For Piano, Op. 61, D. 90a (RO 148): Marche Funebre, Op. 64 (Posthumos)

5. Bamboula, Danse Des Nègres For Piano, Op. 2, D. 13 (RO 20): Bamboula, Danse De Negres, Op. 2

6. Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros For Piano, Op. 31, D. 147 (RO 250): Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros

7. The Dying Poet, Meditation For Piano, D. 45 (RO 75): The Dying Poet, Meditation

8. Le Bananier, Chanson Nègre For Piano, Op. 5, D. 14 (RO 21): Le Bananier, Chanson Negre

9. Pasquinade, Caprice For Piano, Op. 59, D. 113 (Ro 189): Pasquinade, Caprice, Op. 59

10. Berceuse, Cradle Song For Piano, Op. 47, D. 20 (RO 27): Berceuse, Op. 47 (Cradle Song)

11. Tournament Galop, For Piano, D. 153 (Ro 264): Tournament Galop

12. Ossian, Ballades (2) For Piano, Op. 4, D. 109 (RO 187): Ossian Ballade, Op. 4, No. 1

13. Le Mancenillier, Sérénade For Piano, Op. 11, D. 45 (RO 142): Serenade, Op. 11

14. Morte!! (She Is Dead), Lamentation For Piano, Op. 60, D. 100 (Ro 174): Morte, Op. 60 (Lamentation: She Is Dead)

15. Danza, Contradance For Piano, Op. 33, D. 41 (RO 66): Danza, Op. 33 (Porto Rico, November 1857)

16. Minuit à Seville, Caprice For Piano, Op. 30, D. 96 (Ro 170): Minuit A Seville, Op. 30 (Caprice)

17. La Gallina, Danse Cubaine For Piano, Op. 53, D. 60 (RO 101): La Gallina, Op. 53

x

Track List: Gottschalk: A Night In The Tropics

Title: Grande Tarantelle, For Piano & String Quintet (or Chamber Ensemble), Op. 67 (RO 259)

1. Grande Tarantelle, For Piano & String Quintet (or Chamber Ensemble), Op. 67 (RO 259): No. 5

Title: Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros For Piano, Op. 31, D. 147 (RO 250)

2. Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros For Piano, Op. 31, D. 147 (RO 250): Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros

Title: The Dying Poet, Meditation For Piano, D. 45 (RO 75)

3. The Dying Poet, Meditation For Piano, D. 45 (RO 75): The Dying Poet, Meditation

Title: Tournament Galop, For Piano, D. 153 (Ro 264)

4. Tournament Galop, For Piano, D. 153 (Ro 264): Tournament Galop

Title: O Ma Charmante, éPargnez-moi!, Caprice For Piano, Op. 44, D. 107 (Ro 182)

5. O Ma Charmante, éPargnez-moi!, Caprice For Piano, Op. 44, D. 107 (Ro 182): O! Ma Charmante

Title: Le Bananier, Chanson Nègre For Piano, Op. 5, D. 14 (RO 21)

6. Le Bananier, Chanson Nègre For Piano, Op. 5, D. 14 (RO 21): Le Bananier, Chanson Negre

Title: Manchega, Étude De Concert For Piano, Op. 38, D. 86 (RO 143)

7. Manchega, Étude De Concert For Piano, Op. 38, D. 86 (RO 143): Manchega, Etude De Concert

Title: Grande Tarantelle, For 2 Pianos, Op. 67 (RO 260)

8. Grande Tarantelle, For 2 Pianos, Op. 67 (RO 260): No. 4

Title: Berceuse, Song For Voice & Piano ("Slumber On, Baby Dear"), D. 21 (RO 28)

9. Berceuse, Song For Voice & Piano ("Slumber On, Baby Dear"), D. 21 (RO 28): Berceuse (Cradle Song)

Title: Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255)

10. Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255): Movement I

11. Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255): Movement 2

x

Track List: Gottschalk: Piano Music

1. Le Banjo, Esquisse Américaine For Piano, Op. 15, D. 15 (Ro 22): Le Banjo

2. Le Mancenillier, Sérénade For Piano, Op. 11, D. 45 (RO 142): La Serenade

3. Minuit à Seville, Caprice For Piano, Op. 30, D. 96 (Ro 170): Caprice

4. Romance, For Piano In E Flat Major, D. 134 (RO 270): Romanze In E Flat

5. Chanson Du Gitano, For Piano, D. 28 (RO 35 & 274): Chanson Du Gitano

6. Mazurk, For Piano In F Sharp Minor, D. 93 (RO 276): Mazurka In F Sharp

7. Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros For Piano, Op. 31, D. 147 (RO 250): Souvenir De Porto Rico

8. Souvenir De La Havane, Caprice De Concert For Piano, Op. 39, D. 145 (RO 246): Souvenir De La Havane

9. Danza, Contradance For Piano, Op. 33, D. 41 (RO 66): Danza

10. Ballade, For Piano No. 6, Op. 83 And 85, D. 12 (RO 14): Sixieme Ballade

11. Columbia, Caprice Américaine For Piano, Op. 34, D. 38 (RO 61): Columbia

12. Ojos Criollos - Danse Cubaine, Caprice Brillante For Piano, Op. 37, D. 105a (Ro 185): Les Yeux Creoles

13. Le Bananier, Chanson Nègre For Piano, Op. 5, D. 14 (RO 21): Chanson Negre

14. L'union, Paraphrase De Concert For Piano, Op. 48, D. 156 (Ro 269): Union

x

Track List: Gottschalk: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Escenas Campestres Cubanas; Célèbre Tarantelle

Title: Symphony No. 2: "Á Montevideo", For Orchestra, D. 99 (RO 257)

1. Symphony No. 2: "Á Montevideo", For Orchestra, D. 99 (RO 257): Andante

2. Symphony No. 2: "Á Montevideo", For Orchestra, D. 99 (RO 257): Presto-maestoso

Title: Grande Tarantelle, For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 67, D. 66 (RO 259)

3. Grande Tarantelle, For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 67, D. 66 (RO 259): Tempo Di Tarentelle

Title: Esceñas Campestres, Opera In 1 Act ("Cuban Country Scenes"), D. 47 (RO 77)

4. Esceñas Campestres, Opera In 1 Act ("Cuban Country Scenes"), D. 47 (RO 77): I. Tempo De Danza: Moderato

5. Esceñas Campestres, Opera In 1 Act ("Cuban Country Scenes"), D. 47 (RO 77): II. Piu Lento

6. Esceñas Campestres, Opera In 1 Act ("Cuban Country Scenes"), D. 47 (RO 77): III. Danza

7. Esceñas Campestres, Opera In 1 Act ("Cuban Country Scenes"), D. 47 (RO 77): Tempo De Danza: Moderato

Title: Variations De Concert Sur L'hymne Portugais, For Piano & Orchestra, D. 157a (Ro 289)

8. Variations De Concert Sur L'hymne Portugais, For Piano & Orchestra, D. 157a (Ro 289): Variations De Concert Sur L'hymne Portugais Du Roi Louis I

Title: Ave Maria, Song For Voice & Piano, D. 6 (RO 10)

9. Ave Maria, Song For Voice & Piano, D. 6 (RO 10): Ave Maria

Title: La Caza Del Joven Enrique Por Méhul, Gran Overture For 5 Pianos & Orchestra, RO 54b

10. La Caza Del Joven Enrique Por Méhul, Gran Overture For 5 Pianos & Orchestra, RO 54b: La Casa Del Joven Enrique Por Mehul-gran Overture

Title: Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255)

11. Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255): I. Noche En Los Tropicos

12. Symphony No. 1: "La Nuit Des Tropiques" (Night In The Tropics), For Orchestra, D. 104 (RO 255): II. Festa Criolla

x

Track List: Louis Moreau Gottschalk: Obras Para Piano

2. Morte!! (She Is Dead), Lamentation For Piano, Op. 60, D. 100 (Ro 174): Morte, Op. 60 (Lamentation: She Is Dead)

3. Ojos Criollos - Danse Cubaine, Caprice Brillante For Piano, Op. 37, D. 105a (Ro 185): Ojos Criollos, Op. 37 (Les Yeux Creoles Or Danse Cubaine)

5. Ricordati, Nocturne For Piano, Op. 26, D. 133 (Ro 227): Ricordati

6. La Scintilla: La Scintilla

8. Le Banjo, Esquisse Américaine For Piano, Op. 15, D. 15 (Ro 22): Le Banjo

9. Pasquinade, Caprice For Piano, Op. 59, D. 113 (Ro 189): Pasquinade, Caprice, Op. 59

10. Tournament Galop, For Piano, D. 153 (Ro 264): Tournament Galop

11. Grand Scherzo, For Piano, Op. 57, D. 65 (Ro 114): Grand Scherzo

12. Suis-moi!, Contradanza For Piano, Op. 45, D. 157 (Ro 253): Suis-moi!, Caprice, Op. 45

x

Track List: Louis Moreau Gottschalk: Piano Music

1. Le Banjo, Esquisse Américaine For Piano, Op. 15, D. 15 (Ro 22): The Banjo Op. 15 (Fantasie Grotesque)

2. Bamboula, Danse Des Nègres For Piano, Op. 2, D. 13 (RO 20): Bamboula, Danse De Negres, Op. 2

3. Le Bananier, Chanson Nègre For Piano, Op. 5, D. 14 (RO 21): Le Bananier, Chanson Negre

4. La Savane, Ballade Créole For Piano, Op. 3, D. 135 (RO 232): La Savane, Ballade Creole, Op. 3

5. Tremolo, Grande Étude De Concert For Piano, Op 58, D. 154 (RO 265): Tremolo, Grande Etude De Concert, Op. 58

6. La Jota Aragonesa, Caprice Espagñol For Piano, Op. 14, D. 79 (RO 130): La Jota Aragonesa, Caprice Espagnol, Op. 14

7. Manchega, Étude De Concert For Piano, Op. 38, D. 86 (RO 143): Manchega, Etude De Concert

8. Souvenirs D'Andalousie, Caprice De Concert For Piano, Op. 22, D. 148 (RO 242): Souvenirs D'andalousie, Caprice De Concert Sur La Cana, Op. 22

9. Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros For Piano, Op. 31, D. 147 (RO 250): Souvenir De Porto Rico, Marche Des Gibaros

10. L'Étincelle, Mazurka Sentimentale For Piano ("The Spark"), Op. 20, D. 49 (RO 80): L'etincelle, La Scintilla, Op. 20

11. La Gallina, Danse Cubaine For Piano, Op. 53, D. 60 (RO 101): La Gallina, Op. 53

12. Suis-moi!, Contradanza For Piano, Op. 45, D. 157 (Ro 253): Suis-moi!, Caprice, Op. 45

13. Pasquinade, Caprice For Piano, Op. 59, D. 113 (Ro 189): Pasquinade, Caprice, Op. 59

14. Tournament Galop, For Piano, D. 153 (Ro 264): Tournament Galop

15. The Dying Poet, Meditation For Piano, D. 45 (RO 75): The Dying Poet, Meditation

16. L'union, Paraphrase De Concert For Piano, Op. 48, D. 156 (Ro 269): The Union, Paraphrase De Concert On The National Airs Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, And Hail Columbia, Op. 48

Comments

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benjamincask e y 0 2
He played amazing music
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projman62
f you dave lewis
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Wow! This guy is good! I love Chopin and Liszt and this is what is Louis is displaying here. Louis Gottschalk is brilliant.
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WHO IS PERFORMING ?!?!??!?!
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So delightfully fantastical. A Midsummer's Eve feel to it.
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lburris597
So beautiful and magical. I can get so lost in the wonderful garden of Gottschalk music.
Report as inappropriate
Some of the problem with LMG is that many of his published works read more like charts than fully realized compositions . He was a brilliant improviser. Most modern players who attempt his music stick to a literal reading --- something he himself apparently never did.
Report as inappropriate
Never knew he was American *or* that Chopin praised his piano music (does praise get any better?). Robert: Not sure that Gottschalk was the kind of composer who held Gould's interest (romantics who weren't deeply literary (Schumann) or harmonically predictive (Liszt, Wagner; in a different way, Franck) seemed not to appeal to cerebral pianists like Gould in the 50s-70s). What about John Browning or Charles Rosen (who could have written the sleeve notes as well as played the music fastidiously ) ?
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= )
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Or Horowitz?
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I wonder what it would have sounded like if Glenn Gould had given an all-Gottscha l k concert?
Report as inappropriate
Two years later and Gottschalk is STILL an underrated genius!
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retropat
On the piano? You're too cool! good luck...
Report as inappropriate
brimari93
i love this song!!! hopefully I can learn it this year...that would be amazing!!!
Report as inappropriate
dougwaterman
totally agree - the bomb
Report as inappropriate
Gottschalk is an underrated genius.

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